Coping with a chronic illness and college at the same time can become quite challenging. Medical issues affect their learning capabilities and prevent them from achieving their academic goals. Let’s have a look at some of the studies that deal with serious health conditions:
- According to some statistics, 20% of US adolescents have some kind of medical issue.
- More than 11% of college students have been diagnosed or treated for medical issues, primarily depression, anxiety, and stress.
As you can see, such issues are nothing new, and you’re not alone in the world. If you need scholarships and resources as a student with a health condition, this article is for you. We’ve come up with this comprehensive list that allows college students with serious health conditions to tap into many scholarships and resources and help them get the education they deserve.
The Impact of Medical Conditions on Students and Learning
A serious health condition can be any condition, impairment, illness, or injury resulting in ongoing medical care or inpatient treatment with a health care provider. The easiest way to describe a chronic illness is to see it as a condition that cannot be quickly and easily cured and requires special medical care and treatment.
When it comes to illness categorization, there are a few types of serious conditions that students may experience, such as:
- Severe mental health issues (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression)
- Heart diseases
- Congenital malformations
- Muscular dystrophy
All these medical issues are considered serious because of the common characteristics they share:
- Serious health conditions require constant, inpatient care.
- They require long-term treatment.
- They can be incapacitating.
- They can be lethal.
As a result, students with medical conditions have to face and overcome many challenges daily. Let’s list some of these challenges to get a better understanding of what they are going through.
Serious health conditions lead to absenteeism
One of the biggest challenges that students with medical issues face in education is missing class. Since they require constant medical care, many are forced to miss class due to visiting medical facilities.
Students feel less motivated to keep going.
When you have to put in an extra effort just to get through the day, it can be hard to cope with your everyday college activities. Many learners with health conditions suffer from a lack of motivation to work hard to achieve their goals and earn a degree.
Concentration and focus issues
Inability to concentrate or find your focus is a common side effect of medications and medical treatments. There is also stress and anxiety to consider, as well as the financial side to the equation. Visiting doctors and receiving regular medical care requires substantial financial support. These are all distractions from education.
Serious conditions can lead to developing behavioral issues
When it’s hard to function normally every day, it can lead to developing behavioral problems. These issues can also be a direct result of taking strong medications or receiving medical treatments that can interrupt the student’s ability to focus and learn. In the most severe cases, this can also lead to academic and social isolation.
Poor academic performance
With social and academic isolation comes a significant drop in the student’s academic performance. Due to the inability to cope with everyday activities, students with medical issues have trouble dealing with both their illness and obligations. Since they are forced to deal with pain and fatigue due to their condition, they often achieve a lower academic performance.
Colleges Support for Undergraduates with Serious Conditions
For students with serious health conditions, the main challenge is to find a balance between fulfilling their daily activities regarding earning a degree and managing their illness. That is why they need all the help they can get. Let’s see how colleges can help them.
Campus behavioral intervention teams
Campus behavioral intervention teams are crucial to maintaining communication with students with medical issues. BITs are in charge of identifying distressed learners and helping them receive the proper care they need.
Mental health support services
Colleges provide an array of mental health support services for troubled students. Such services help identify issues and major risk factors to provide undergraduates with proper treatment and effective care, focusing on re-establishing social connections and positive coping skills. These services also include intervention programs where teachers and mentors offer encouragement to seek help.
Comprehensive wraparound services
This type of service helps students cope with their daily activities and overcome different challenges by providing access to family counseling, domestic violence services, legal aid, healthcare, child and elder care, and transportation.
Training programs for students
Undergraduates with medical issues can tap into various training programs that help identify signs of medical problems and take steps to address those issues accordingly. Some of the best mental health programs include:
- Mental health first aid – this course helps students identify medical issues and find the best way to respond.
- Forefront suicide prevention – provided by the University of Washington, this training program involves various tools and educational material that help students with suicidal thoughts.
- Courses on various mental health conditions – Coursera provides a number of different college-level courses on an array of different chronic illnesses.
- Training simulations – since many students struggle to communicate mental health issues, some training programs encourage them to feel confident about talking about anxiety, stress, depression, and other medical and mental issues.
List of Scholarships for Learners with Health Conditions
- Winterhoff Arthritis Scholarship – available for students with rheumatoid arthritis, this award requires undergraduates to be active members of the Arthritis Foundation to qualify.
- This Is Me Scholarship – available for students with alopecia, this scholarship helps troubled learners find the best ways to treat their condition.
- The HIV League Scholarship – all students with HIV can count on this scholarship. The main requirement is to be enrolled in a degree program on a full-time or part-time basis.
- The Elaine Chapin Memorial Scholarship – intended for youngsters with heart diseases, this scholarship helps troubled students cope with their health conditions and still receive the proper education they deserve.
- Patient Advocate Association – this organization offers scholarships to students forced to leave college to receive medical care and treatment for a serious health condition.
- National M.S. Society Scholarship – this scholarship is available to all students suffering from multiple sclerosis and can range from $1,000–$3,000.
- National Collegiate Cancer Foundation – learners undergoing cancer treatment can receive this $1000, non-renewable scholarship.
- Diabetes Scholar Foundation – ranging from $3,000–$5,000 per recipient, this foundation provides scholarships to diabetic students who attend trade/technical schools, community colleges, or four-year universities.
- Cancer Survivors’ Fund – all current and former US cancer patients are eligible for this scholarship.
- Crohn’s and Me – college students with Crohn’s disease can count on this one-time $5,000 scholarship.
- Cancer for College – both former and current cancer patients can receive this scholarship. The amount of the award they receive ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- Students With A Heart Foundation Scholarship – both graduate and undergraduate students with heart diseases can receive this $6,000 scholarship. The requirements include a 3.0 grade point average and a 2,000 words essay on the challenges of living with heart disease.
- Scholarship for Survivors – available for undergraduates who have survived life-threatening or chronic health conditions, this $3,000 scholarship requires a student to be under the age of 25, enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, and have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.
- Mouse Hole Scholarship – designed for sighted students with at least one parent with a visual disability and visually impaired learners, this $1,000 award requires applicants to write an essay on their future aspirations.
- Kevin Child Scholarship – this $1,000 scholarship is intended for high school students with hemophilia A or B who want to attend a university, college, or vocational school. The requirements include high school transcripts, a personal essay, and letters of recommendation.
- Karman Healthcare Mobility Disability Scholarship – for students with mobility issues to receive this award, they must have at least a 2.0 grade point and be enrolled at an accredited university or college.
- Jack & Julie Narcolepsy Scholarship – narcoleptic scholars can receive this national scholarship if they are graduating seniors who have been accepted to a four-year university.
- AAAI Scholarship – all undergraduate and graduate students living with a disability can receive this scholarship if they are enrolled in a degree program related to disability and health issues.
- AbbVie Cystic Fibrosis Scholarship – learners with cystic fibrosis must be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate school program to receive this award.
- Baer Reintegration Scholarship – students with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia can receive this award if they are at least 18 and undergoing treatment for their condition.
List of Resources for Students with Medical Issues
- Guide to spotting and screening child vision problems – helps students find out more about vision problems and how to deal with them.
- Asthma and allergies in college – a student’s guide to dealing with asthma and allergies and what products they should consider using to address these problems.
- How to manage chronic health conditions in college – helps undegraduates find out more about managing chronic illness.
- Academic guide to serious illnesses for college students – those with AIDS, cancer, and other serious health conditions can find helpful information on overcoming everyday challenges.
- Parent’s guide to resources for students with disabilities – helps parents understand how their children can benefit from the legal protections.
- Receiving higher education as a student with disabilities – helps students discover all the resources they are entitled to for receiving a higher education.
- Support for students with autism spectrum disorder – a guide that helps undergraduates with autism cope with their condition and discover accommodations, protections, and rights they are entitled to.
- Dealing with traumatic brain injuries as a student – this guide includes all available information on how traumatic brain injuries impact students and the actions they can take to address their problems.
- How to receive a college education as a student with learning disorders – a guide that helps students with learning disorders navigate their education.
- Chronically Katie – a blog that deals with the life of a college student living with three chronic diseases.
- Going through college with Celiac disease – a guide to dealing with Celiac disease and receiving a college education.
- Elise Rachelle’s Cancer blog – a blog that deals with the hardships of living with cancer as a student.
- Insight – this blog informs students of all types of cancer and how to deal with them.
- How to overcome schizophrenia in college – a blog that helps learners with schizophrenia overcome their issues and attend college.
- Students and rheumatoid arthritis – provides information on how to deal with rheumatoid arthritis as a college student.
- Living with Crohn’s disease on campus – a support group aimed at college students with Crohn’s disease.
- How to beat cancer for students – access to information about cancer, medications, treatments, and more.
- CampusMindWorks – this site provides support for all scholars with an ongoing mental health disorder.
- Collegiate Recovery Program – a program that helps students recover from drug and alcohol addiction.
- Psychological and counseling services – a support group for students.
Students with health conditions have a hard time managing their illness and doing everything they need to do to earn a degree. Fortunately, things tend to get a little bit easier if they have the right resources at their disposal. When it comes to financial concerns, learners with medical issues can count on numerous scholarships and other resources available to them.